Pharyngula

I hear Pete Stark eats babies, too

Wow. Pete Stark has been raked over the coals by the Christian Seniors organization—what a wicked man he must be.

“It is sad but not surprising that the current Congress has produced this historic first—one of its members has denied God,” said CSA Executive Director James Lafferty. “The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.

Well, you know there is a real shortage of schoolchildren to throttle. If we liberals went at it at the pace we wanted, we’d be knee deep in dead children. We’ve been exercising restraint in our child-throttling initiatives for years in order to preserve the supply.

It’s the real reason we’re pissed off at the Republicans. Here we’ve got this new resource of pious children to throttle in Iraq, and they just squander it by throwing bombs at the place. It’s a damned waste, the kind of impersonal mass destruction that only benefits the greedy child-killers at the top of the corporate food chain; we liberals believe everyone should get the therapeutic benefit of killing good godly babies. That’s really the difference between us, isn’t it?

“It is time for religious members of Congress to push back. A simple declaration of a belief in God by members of Congress on the House floor will be greatly informative for the American people. Members who wish to expand could use the ‘special orders’ portion of the House calendar to elaborate but a simple “I believe in God” will suffice.

I predict a stampede for the steps of the legislature and Fox News cameras. An invitation to a public display of piety? Oh, boy!

“Congressman Stark’s statement is a very sad benchmark for America. It could be the moment which defines the decline of our country or it could be the spark which marks an important day. That would be the day that religious Americans stood-up to the liberal bullies who are so determined to use the power of government to silence prayer and every other religious expression of free speech.

You know, Pete Stark only admitted to being a Unitarian and not believing in a deity. He is not a fire-breathing atheist, but here he is being accused of wanting to throttle children, suppress free speech, and destroy America — things which neither he nor a truly evil godless fellow like myself has any desire to do. Keep this in mind next time you quiver in trepidation at the rhetoric of those angry New Atheists. We’re not going to bring down the wrath of the Religious Right on you, all it takes is any freethought of any kind.

Comments

  1. #1 xenophobic
    March 15, 2007

    Well put, Dr. Myers. It’s commentary like this that make reading Pharyngula a must.
    I have yet to hear a comment from Stark in which he bashes either god or Christianity. This is merely hatred against atheist and suppression of equal rights. I doubt such matters concern those who teach “loving thy neighbor”. Erg, the hypocracy!

  2. #2 Hank Fox
    March 15, 2007

    The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.

    Zowie! Talk about overheated rhetoric!

    With the star of Ann Coulter waning, I have to believe the sell-by date of this kind of vicious, phony attack crap is fast approaching. There are times lately when it’s getting harder to believe that people who write stuff like this are serious at all. Sometimes I think the whole conservative Christian movement has been infiltrated by Progressive moles and every word from that side is actually a not-very-deeply disguised spoof of CC talking points. It’s like that whole side has been taken over by Stephen Colbert clones.

    I used to get furious about stuff like this — the REACTION is so off the scale of the original ACTION, and it’s so obviously, radically misleading — but these days the whole mess starts to seem like a Saturday Night Live skit:

    “Hey, Bob, your shoelace is untied.”

    “< SHRIEK! > WHAT?? YOU’RE TELLING ME IN PUBLIC MY SHOELACE IS UNTIED?!? HOW COULD YOU EMBARRASS ME LIKE THIS?? OH MY GOD!! I’VE MET MURDEROUS PSYCHOPATHS WITH MORE SENSITIVITY!!!?”

    And considering who it’s coming from, I can’t help but imagine a Quote Version of the holiday regifting game:

    Pre-Civil-War Georgia:

    The Negroes in America want to throttle any school child who relishes his or her whiteness, but they want to establish a right for Negroes to bash Caucasians and berate whiteness around the clock.

    1940s Germany:

    The Jews in Germany want to throttle any school child who professes Aryan purity, but they want to establish a right for Jews to bash Aryans and berate the Fatherland around the clock.

    There’s gotta be some sort of lower limit on how far this stuff can go, and I like to think we’ve just about reached it. People who join organizations like The Christian Seniors Association are probably educated enough that some capacity for independent thought remains (and they see the results of conservative Christian triumph over the past 6 years), whereas the ones most prone to soak up this poison without questioning probably don’t read all that much.

  3. #3 King Aardvark
    March 15, 2007

    “The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.”

    What a queer (not in the homosexual sense) comment to make. Stark merely comes public with what he believes, doesn’t verbally attack or belittle anybody, and the fundy wackos immediately start bashing atheists and other nontheists, accusing them of wanting to throttle kids. Very nice.

    Honestly, I was expecting much worse coming from the religious right about this. A “simple declaration of a belief in God” isn’t that much to ask for – many of them do it all the time already.

  4. #4 tacitus
    March 15, 2007

    The John Birch Society is in on the act, but unfortunately for them, the Constitution doesn’t help make their case against Congressman Stark, so they have to turn to the Declaration of Independence:

    Stark’s stand formally separates him from the Declaration of Independence that mentions a deity in four of its passages. He evidently denies its assertion that there are “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and that the rights enjoyed by all are granted by a “Creator.” That these core beliefs of the Founding Fathers constitute our nation’s philosophical base cannot be denied. From it, the Founders created a Constitution to limit government, not the people, who were expected to be guided by their deeply held religious beliefs. As shown by his extreme liberal voting record over more than 30 years, Stark has a decidedly opposite view of what this nation stands for and how limited its governmental powers should be.

    And did you know that Stark is a Commie too?

    Before he passed into eternity, Karl Marx insisted that “Humanism is really nothing else but Marxism.” Longtime U.S. Communist Party leader Gus Hall boasted that he represented “another Humanist association, the Communist Party.” Congressman Stark has placed himself in very interesting company. His fingers must be crossed when he takes the oath of office.

    http://www.jbs.org/node/3066

    All we need now is a Nazi quote.

  5. #5 Ed Darrell
    March 15, 2007

    Stark really smoked ‘em out.

    I’ll bet no atheist organization puts out a press release titled, “Christians bash Unitarians,” or anything else quite so accurate, but divisive.

    Once more the atheists show greater moral character than the public Christians. According to Christian scripture, Jesus had some stuff to say about people like “Christian Seniors Association.” Would it kill the Christians to actually read the Bible?

  6. #6 Steve_C
    March 15, 2007

    You know it’s all our fault. We’re supposed to just shut up and be quiet about it. I mean we are a minority.

  7. #7 MReap
    March 15, 2007

    “Current Congress”??? Stark has been there since 1973. There’s nothing current about him.

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    March 15, 2007

    Remember, they’re not Christian babies. They’re the babies of Christian parents. So says Atheist Pope Richard I. Blessed be His Nonholiness.

  9. #9 MJ Memphis
    March 15, 2007

    Well, you can understand their worry. The 110th Congress already had 1 Muslim, 2 Buddhists, and 30 Jews; add in an atheist, and the Christians are down to only 94% of the total membership!

    Of course, as of 2001, Christians were just under 80% of the population, so hopefully that number will continue to fall.

  10. #10 Steve_C
    March 15, 2007

    It’s newly Democratic majority. You know the godless liberal baby throttlers.

  11. #11 Steve LaBonne
    March 15, 2007

    Keep this in mind next time you quiver in trepidation at the rhetoric of those angry New Atheists. We’re not going to bring down the wrath of the Religious Right on you, all it takes is any freethought of any kind.

    I just wanted to copy those two sentences because they need to be repeated over and over and over until certain people get it.

  12. #12 Alex
    March 15, 2007

    Ed said:
    “Would it kill the Christians to actually read the Bible?”

    Don’t be silly Ed. Believers don’t need to read the bible. Only unbelievers do that.

    “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.” [Mark Twain]

  13. #13 les
    March 15, 2007

    Where are all these complete crazies coming from–have I just missed ‘em all? This guy is fatally stupid; A. Coulter just did a column that says global warming is a liberal plot to kill all the conservatives; D. Rumsfeld is getting a statesmanship award from the Claremont Inst.; is this a parallel universe or something?

  14. #14 boojieboy
    March 15, 2007

    A person should really ask the Christian Seniors Organization (or anyone else who utters such a message) why they hate the Constitution so much.

  15. #15 greensmile
    March 15, 2007

    PZ, I don’t imagine you’d be a great fan and follower of ANY recipient of the Tempelton Prize but since the current winner, Charles Taylor went on record about Stark, would you care to comment or at least categorize? Is playing nice with the apologists a hopeless enterprise or are there believers with whom interesting dialogs are possible?
    NPR interview tran$cript:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8904420

    my post with the money quote down towards the bottom

  16. #16 daenku32
    March 15, 2007

    Ah, so Pete Stark is now considered the anti-Christ by the Christian Seniors. I guess they aren’t all that trusting in democratic processes if a SINGLE non-believer in Congress is going to manage to “silence prayer and every other religious expression of free speech.”

  17. #17 Dunc
    March 15, 2007

    [...] but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.

    Whaddaya mean, establish? We already have that right – it’s called the First Amendment.

  18. #18 Hank Fox
    March 15, 2007

    Every single time I hear “Templeton Prize,” I picture Templeton the Rat from the 1973 animated version of Charlotte’s Web, with Paul Lynde doing the voice.

  19. #19 AJ Milne
    March 15, 2007

    Members who wish to expand could use the ‘special orders’ portion of the House calendar to elaborate but a simple “I believe in God” will suffice.

    …I know on one level this could be read as a profoundly obnoxious ‘swear yer fealty unto our common superstition or else, o elected puppets’ thing, but I find myself on this occasion reading something oddly heartening into it.

    I could swear there’s something almost genuine behind the hysteria about ‘pushing back’*, this time. They sound… nervous.

    Is that a ‘swear… oh swear… oh please tell us you all believe, and we’re not the only dupes left’ overtone creeping in? Or is that just my wishful thinking, hearing that?

    Regardless, I suppose, it’s not as if they really need to worry.


    *’Pushing back’. Har har. You poor, terrified, put-upon overwhelming majority, you. I believe what we’re talking about here is just, as usual, ‘pushing’.

  20. #20 Ithika
    March 15, 2007

    I’m astounded that one man can be hailed as some kind of liberal-totalitarian uberforce come to wipe out religion forever.

    What the hell would happen if someone revealed their complete irreligiousness? Rioting in the streets…

  21. #21 Spirula
    March 15, 2007

    they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God

    So we need to prohibit people from berating God? Why? Is he so much of a pussy he needs legislation to protect him from getting his feelings hurt?

  22. #22 Phil Plait
    March 15, 2007

    Wow. Remind me never to piss off PZ.

  23. #23 PonderingFool
    March 15, 2007

    I hope someone points this out to Senator Obama. The true problem with the “under God” phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance is not brainwashing but rather creating a climate in which non-Christians are viewed as other, unAmerican, especially non-believers. The Congress codifying such language has enabled and promoted such outright bigots. The harm is not the line itself on non-Christians directly, it is the effect the line has on the believers that is the problem basically giving the OK to be bigoted.

  24. #24 PZ Myers
    March 15, 2007

    It’s probably safe to piss me off. Just don’t pray in front of me — I can’t always control these strangler’s hands, you know.

  25. #25 chaos_engineer
    March 15, 2007

    No, we need to stop people from berating God around the clock.

    I really think that there’s too much negativity in the world, so I might support legislation that would say that you’re only allowed to berate people from 8:30AM to 5:00PM (with half-an-hour off for lunch).

    I don’t see any need to mention God in the legislation. If he gets tired of being berated then he can incarnate in human form and file a complaint.

  26. #26 greensmile
    March 15, 2007

    I see I missed an earlier post that would have answered my questions: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/03/spirituality_another_word_for.php

    Alex: funny thing about that…I actually quote scripture pretty accurately for a godless humanist.

  27. #27 Karl Rove II
    March 15, 2007

    Children are best pan roasted with potatoes and a nice apple cider glaze.

    “The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.”

    Yup, I love to stay up 24/7 and berate something that doesn’t exist…I don’t need to bash Christians, they do that job pretty well all by themselves.

  28. #28 blf
    March 15, 2007

    I can’t always control these strangler’s hands…

    Ah-hah! PZ is unmasked. Hi, Dr Strangelove.
    ;-)

  29. #29 quork
    March 15, 2007

    The Christian Seniors Association is a Washington-based grassroots organization with over 120,000 members across America.

    * snicker *

  30. #30 Bob O'H
    March 15, 2007

    I guess the Congressman’s behaviour makes a stark contrast to the Christian Seniors.

    Sorry, it was too tempting.

    Bob

  31. #31 SteveM
    March 15, 2007

    Article VI: …The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

    THIS is the law of the land, not the Declaration Independance. And even the DOI uses “Creator” in a very ambiguous way that does not necessarly mean “God”. I wish these people would also notice, and ask themselves, what the Constitution means by the phrase “oath or affirmation”; this is not there to be redundant synonyms, one of them is for the deists and one is for the atheists.

  32. #32 Buck Fuddy
    March 15, 2007

    …but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.

    That would be a really neat idea if it weren’t completely unnecessary unnecessary, since the first amendment already guarantees those rights. I’m practicing to be a master-berater. How about you? :-D

  33. #33 AlanW
    March 15, 2007

    >The Christian Seniors Association is a Washington-based grassroots organization with over 120,000 members across America.
    Does that sound anything like astroturf to you?

  34. #34 Natasha Yar-Routh
    March 15, 2007

    The reaction to Stark and Ellison should be final proof, if it was needed, that the Religious Right will attack anyone one who publicly disagrees with them however mildly. The mild ones just want all atheists, LGBTQ people and liberals back in the closet. Out of sight out of mind. The eliminationist ones want us run out of the country or dead. To quote the old ACT-UP slogan ‘silence = death’. So stand up and shout it out loud, ‘I’m atheist and proud’

  35. #35 Carlie
    March 15, 2007

    Who exactly are the members of the Christian Seniors Association, and why should anyone care? Have they ever made statements before? Has anyone ever listened?

  36. #36 Thony C.
    March 15, 2007

    Hey, can I get a green card and emigrate to Amerika? With all the atheists and agnostics here in Europe there just ar’n’t enough Christian kids to throttle!

  37. #37 greensmile
    March 15, 2007

    my humble apologies for not checking the link I pasted

    THIS is the post with the quote from Charles Taylor, interviewed on NPR, about the hypocrisy surrounding reaction to Stark’s admission.

    [man, I wish we could go back and edit the stupidity out of our comments!]

  38. #38 Luo Lin
    March 15, 2007

    Maybe this is why I don’t blog politics or religion much. The hyperbole is funny, and the ignorance of the first amendment is scary, but I can’t get past the inanity of the first quotation:

    “The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.”

    Most of the liberals in Congress that they decry are self-identified Christians. “1 Muslim, 2 Buddhists, and 30 Jews” are not responsible for whatever God-bashing legislation these people are fantasizing about.

    Besides, the facts are just wrong. I am a liberal atheist, and I spend my time destroying embryos (via in vitro fertilization), not strangling children.

  39. #39 Kristine
    March 15, 2007

    “This is a fight which is destined to be fought in America and we think it should begin today.”

    You know, how many “fights” and “wars” and “struggles against the global whatever of terrors” do people want to pick/wage/engage in?

    Anybody fighted/warred/struggled out yet? What hyperbole. A grown man made a statement about what he thinks inside his head, and other allegedly grown adults issue a fatwa against him, “us” or whatever the current Other happens to be. Boy, we’re not becoming a nation of control freaks at all! Nuh-uh.

    Well, at least it’s happened; we can start having the national discussion that I keep referring to. Let people wig out; they protected by the Bill of Rights, but there’s no Bill of Fights and I think we can set the tone by objecting first of all to this childish and puritanical “winner-take-all” mentality. “Fight,” nothing. Even if there was a heaven once these characters got there they wouldn’t let themselves enjoy themselves. You become what you do.

  40. #40 christian voice
    March 15, 2007

    F Crse dn’t thrttl bbs. ‘r t bs kllng amrcn’s wh blv n gd.

  41. #41 cv
    March 15, 2007

    lol fake troll. How transparently bigoted do you have to be to be outraged by someone saying they are atheist?

  42. #42 Lago
    March 15, 2007

    “Well, you know there is a real shortage of schoolchildren to throttle. If we liberals went at it at the pace we wanted, we’d be knee deep in dead children. We’ve been exercising restraint in our child-throttling initiatives for years in order to preserve the supply.”

    OK, I do not really have anything to say on this topic, but I just wanted to say that the above comment was one of the funniest effin’ things I have seen in years…

    I’m done here..

  43. #43 Steve_C
    March 15, 2007

    Why bother. Christians kill christians all the time. Prisons are full of em.

    Couldn’t resist.

  44. #44 Bill Dauphin
    March 15, 2007

    I think the only remedy here is that we should pay Stark’s entire salary in the form of godless dollars.

    Seriously, I’m amazed nobody here has commented on the godless dollars story in the week since it broke.

  45. #45 Steve_C
    March 15, 2007

    I love that they’re worth more than their god trusting versions.

  46. #46 Madam Pomfrey
    March 15, 2007

    As usual: projection, projection, projection. The violence and brutality is in themselves, and they only want free speech for themselves. Their statements hold up a mirror reflecting the kind of society they would establish.

  47. #47 Troublesome Frog
    March 15, 2007

    I think that South Park covered this nicely.

    Ted Koppel: Just answer me this, Tweek: What do you see as “positive” about toddler murder?
    Tweek: Ahah. U-uh. It’s easy?

  48. #48 aweb
    March 15, 2007

    The throttling children made me think of this thread, which asks the eternal question : how many 5 year olds could you take?

    http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=1556673&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=9&o=14&vc=1

    Not safe for those easily offended by people planning to “throttle” large numbers of children, so be warned.

  49. #49 JasonG
    March 15, 2007
  50. #50 Steviepinhead
    March 15, 2007

    Seriously, I’m amazed nobody here has commented on the godless dollars story in the week since it broke.

    I did, the first day the story broke. Somewhere… (I’m too lazy to go back and look, but I tried to stick it on a thread that had something to do with indicia of godlessness).

    PZ gleans, filters, and posts (often with remarkable eloquence and lucidity) so much germane to the intersecting interests of this blog, all while carrying his teaching and research loads, and functioning as husband, father, and community member, that it doesn’t surprise me that an occasional nugget is sloshed over the rim of the pan.

  51. #51 Ribozyme
    March 15, 2007

    PZ, nobody has commented on the video you linked. Horrendous! Just by watching it nobody in his/her rational mind could say that there are just wars or positive aspects to war.

    I think the problem is that the video was tagged as inapropriate for some people, and to view it you have to have previously signed in to YouTube.

    Here is another one on the same vein, that anybody can watch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0ELgFGd2fs

    One more thing. The video you linked is good, but at the end is full of Christian platitudes that I don’t think are ironical (at least most of them). It’s the blessings part of the Sermon of the Mountain, that promise to people exposed to evil that God will make up for it in Heaven. Talk about excuses for no solving the problem in this world! (the only one that exists)

  52. #52 Dave Carlson
    March 15, 2007

    Who wants to take bets on how long it will be before somebody puts up a post somewhere claiming (seriously) that PZ supports child murder?

  53. #53 jpf
    March 15, 2007

    Who exactly are the members of the Christian Seniors Association, and why should anyone care? Have they ever made statements before? Has anyone ever listened?

    The Christian Seniors Association is a division of the Traditional Values Coalition, created as a “Christian alternative to AARP”. (AARP claims that it’s just a money generating scam for TVC founder Rev. Louis P. Sheldon and his family.)

    Here’s something interesting and related to consider: a reporter for the radio broadcaster NPR once implied that TVC was somehow behind a mailed anthrax attack on Democratic Senators in 2002 as retaliation for opposing the use of the phrase “so help me God” in oaths sworn before Congress. NPR publicly apologized and retracted the story, but apparently the Sheldons are still rather bitter.

  54. #54 NC Paul
    March 15, 2007

    While it might be stooping to their level, why aren’t people denouncing the CSA and their ilk as being Unamerican? (It’s a creepy term for we auslanders to hear, but if it work, it works.)

    They clearly hate your Constitution and the principles of religious freedom and personal liberty that have in the past made America the beacon of liberty that the wingers like to bang on about.

    Co-opt their language and turn it against them. Next time one of these yahoos pipes up about religious tests, ask him why he hates the American Way, and when they immediately go into blustering outrage mode, slam dunk them with the First Amendment.

    If he presses the issue and starts quoting Bible verses, but him dead and say that if the Bible supports a theocracy, or is against a separation of church and state, then it too is Unamerican and a threat to liberty.

    By then, either your opponent’s head will have exploded or they’ll keel over of apoplexy.

  55. #55 jufulu
    March 15, 2007

    So if there is a selection process in picking the children that get trottled, what evolutionary pressures are we putting on the population and what will be the result. I propose a long term survey and testing regimem. If we select based on religon, I predict that we will breed religon resistant children.

  56. #56 Krystalline Apostate
    March 15, 2007

    “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.” –
    H.L Mencken.
    I’m tempted to throttle somebody but it sure ain’t kids.
    Kids don’t know any better. These loons should.

  57. #57 Leon
    March 15, 2007

    A simple declaration of a belief in God by members of Congress on the House floor will be greatly informative for the American people.

    And what, exactly, do they expect people to learn from such a display? That a majority in Congress believes in God, or is politically intimidated enough to make that claim? You really don’t need a formal ceremony to establish something like this that’s so obvious already.

  58. #58 jpf
    March 15, 2007

    Rereading what I wrote above, let me clarify so no one thinks I’m saying the CSA is threatening anyone with anthrax.

    I meant that the TVC (via the CSA) might feel justified (or at least emboldened) in their ridiculous rhetoric against atheists after being themselves accused of anti-atheistic bioterrorism.

  59. #59 Cpl. Chrondo
    March 15, 2007

    AAHAAHHAHAH!!!!11!!!1!!!1!!
    For the millionth time no one is belittling your stupid fucking religion by not believing in it too. And no one gives a shit how often your kid prays in school, he can spend the whole day praying for all I care. My kid will be studying.

  60. #60 Leon
    March 15, 2007

    Here’s something interesting and related to consider: a reporter for the radio broadcaster NPR once implied that TVC was somehow behind a mailed anthrax attack on Democratic Senators in 2002 as retaliation for opposing the use of the phrase “so help me God” in oaths sworn before Congress.

    Well, I wouldn’t necessarily put it past such people. You know, though, the reaction is telling; if NPR had made such a statement about the ACLU or any liberal organization, I bet you the loud voices would be calling for the blood of the accused organization, not the news agency. And anyone want to take bets on whether they’d have gotten a retraction?

  61. #61 jpf
    March 15, 2007

    Here’s another example of the bizzaro world the CSA/TVC lives in…

    Christian Seniors Praise Justice Department “First Freedom Project”:

    “Anti-Christian Bigotry” Most Widespread Hate Crime

    March 1, 2007 — The Christian Seniors Association called the U.S. Justice Department’s “First Freedom Project” an important initiative which comes at a time when America is experiencing a “hate crime wave of anti-Christian bigotry.”

    The Justice Department has scheduled a series of seminars across America to provide valuable information and assistance on protections for religious freedom available under federal law. Civil rights attorneys at the DOJ and spokesmen for the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be presenters at these seminars.

    “Anti-Christian bigotry is a serious problem in America today,” said Christian Seniors Executive Director James Lafferty. “The Justice Department and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez are to be commended for this very timely and useful program.

    “Clergy and religious activists who have experienced harassment and discrimination because of their religious beliefs should attend and participate in these seminars.”

  62. #62 Chayanov
    March 15, 2007

    I don’t think it’s so much that they hate the Constitution and the religious freedoms guaranteed therein. I think they truly do believe that the United States is a Christian nation, that the Founding Fathers were all devout Protestant Christians, and that Christianity really is the only religion out there — everyone else has either rejected Christianity or hasn’t yet become a Christian or hasn’t recognized that they were Christian all along. You can try to explain history, politics, and comparative religion to them, but they won’t listen. They already “know” what they believe, and nothing can persuade them otherwise. By the end of the World Religions classes I teach, despite all my efforts otherwise, there are still students at the end who truly believe all religions are based on the Bible and worship Jesus, and that the separation of church and state shouldn’t have to apply to Christians.

  63. #63 Leon
    March 15, 2007

    That’s really remarkable. Where have I heard of this sort of thing before…? Oh yeah–this is just like the Anti-Egyptian Bigotry and hate crime wave of anti-Egyptian bigotry during the Israelites’ time in the Land of the Pharaohs. Funny how history repeats itself!

  64. #64 jpf
    March 15, 2007

    Some more on the CSA’s wacky adventures in fear-mongering: last year the CSA was sending out fake, official-looking census questionnaires that were really part push-poll against social security and part asking for money to help the TVC’s anti-gay terror campaign:

    Traditional Values Coalition misrepresents itself with ‘U.S. taxpayer census’ fundraiser

    How the ‘taxpayer census’ fights the ‘homosexual agenda’

  65. #65 Steve_C
    March 15, 2007

    wow. Gonzales need to go.

    http://www.au.org/site/News2?abbr=pr&page=NewsArticle&id=8915

    First Freedom Project is essentially a DoJ program to defend christians getting funds for the government. An effort to lessen the separation of chruch and state.

  66. #66 Steve_C
    March 15, 2007

    Sorry. Funds from the government. They defended the Salvation army for firing unbelievers and attmepted to argue that not allowing religious school vouchers would undermine other people’s freedom to choose alternative religious schools.

    “The First Freedom Project has been run by Eric Treene, an attorney who was formerly employed at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a group that works to undermine the separation of church and state.

    Lynn said Gonzales’ manner of promoting the new initiative is telling. It was unveiled before the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, an ultra-conservative religious denomination aligned with the Bush administration, and Gonzales granted an exclusive interview to TV preacher Pat Robertson’s “700 Club” to promote the initiative.”

  67. #67 CalGeorge
    March 15, 2007

    Prayer is silly.

    I still can’t believe people – adults! – put a hand on a bible and swear to tell the truth, or say a prayer before the beginning of a session of Congress or before school.

    They invoke a non-existent deity! How dumb is that?

    Who came up with that bright idea?

    Just stop it, already.

    Enough is enough!

    Quit it!

    It’s weirding me out!

    I was wondering how Congressional prayer is defended. Here’s an example:

    “We’ve got to work together to stop the continuing erosion of God and religion in our daily lives.”

    “Every morning, since Congress first convened in 1789, we begin our legislative day with a prayer to God…”

    “… we are a religious nation,” Lucas said. “We are, and always will be, one nation, under God.”

    http://www.house.gov/lucas/news/press107/prayerincongress.html

    Shorter wingnut: because it’s a tradition.

    Whoop-dee-do. Get rid of it!

    Did you know there is a Congressional Prayer Caucus?

    http://www.house.gov/forbes/prayer/prayerpurpose.htm

    How dumb is that?

    Did you know there is a prayer archive for Congress?

    http://chaplain.house.gov/archive.html

    End the madness!

  68. #68 Dan
    March 15, 2007

    It is time for religious members of Congress to push back. A simple declaration of a belief in God by members of Congress on the House floor will be greatly informative for the American people.

    Indeed. It would inform us that the American experiment is an abject failure.

    It would inform us that fascism is inevitable, no matter how well-intentioned you are.

    It would inform us that freedom is not only not free, but not lasting.

  69. #69 Joe Shelby
    March 15, 2007

    An invitation to a public display of piety?

    To quote Marvin: “I’ve seen it. It’s rubbish.”

    Specifically in the horrid rendition of God Bless America done by Congress in the weeks after 9/11.

  70. #70 Steve Sutton
    March 15, 2007

    And they say WE’RE full of hate. They don’t seem to realize that not everyone in this country is a Christian and keeping schools secular is the only way to be fair to those who aren’t. Religious people are free to pray in school, just not when class is in session, because it’s disruptive. Schools are also not allowed to sponsor prayer events, because it violates the Establishment Clause. Children can pray ANY time they want, when they’re not in school. Some religious folks need to remember, though, that schools are places of education, not places of worship.

  71. #71 Will E.
    March 15, 2007

    Thanks for the link to the great Sam Harris article. Can we get this quote of his on a Starbucks coffee cup?

    “Every one of the world’s ‘great’ religions utterly trivializes the immensity and beauty of the cosmos. Books like the Bible and the Koran get almost every significant fact about us and our world wrong. Every scientific domain — from cosmology to psychology to economics — has superseded and surpassed the wisdom of Scripture.”

    That’s fucking beautiful. Saganesque, even.

  72. #72 DragonScholar
    March 15, 2007

    Allow me to present an amusing image. Here a man is honest, and his honesty gets him branded as evil, and a demand is made for people in congress to acknowledge they believe in a God.

    Yet, couldn’t an immoral person with no problem about lying say they believe in a God – while here Mr. Stark is honest? What’s do say just because someone believes in a God it’s not a God that excuses their bad behavior?

    There’s a tale I’d heard, one of those may-not-be-true-but-boy-it-makes-the-point stories. A minister who was a polite and sincere fellow asked a chief of an Indian tribe if he could preach to the tribe. The chief thought about it and suggested that, if the minister could preach to the local settlers and convince them to stop swearing, adulterizing, drinking, and causing problems for his tribe, then the minister was all welcome to come over and preach away.

  73. #73 Leon
    March 15, 2007

    Well put, Steve. Although, as someone said on a related subject, an important point is that they’re not really advocating this for their own children–their kids get plenty of OTL (Old-Time Religion) at home. They’re after your kids. (Which means they’re after mine, too, those b*stards.)

  74. #74 SEF
    March 15, 2007

    A simple declaration of a belief in God by members of Congress on the House floor … a simple “I believe in God” will suffice.

    That sounds like some creepy adult version of a Peter Pan pantomime show, ie the point at which all the kids are required to call out “I believe in fairies” in order to rejuvenate the ailing (and treacherous and revolting) Tinkerbell.

  75. #75 wrg
    March 15, 2007

    The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.

    Yet again, it seems that if it weren’t for the whole “Christ” thing and strong differences of opinion over Israel or “occupied Palestine”, American fundamentalists would get along rather well with their Middle Eastern counterparts. Certainly, neither group approves of berating God.

    Perhaps to save America, they’ll have to turn it into Egypt, where there aren’t any First Amendment quibbles to interfere with convictions of disparaging religion: http://www.hrinfo.net/en/reports/2007/pr0222.shtml

  76. #76 SteveM
    March 15, 2007

    What I find ironic is this “We Believe” from the CSA site:

    “All freedoms, rights and liberties are granted by God not government. Each individual has these unalienable rights and it is unrelated to membership in any group.”

    Particularly the SECOND sentence. I gues “any group” does not include the group “atheists”.

  77. #77 Desert Donkey
    March 15, 2007

    Fer crying out loud. A bunch of morons like that criticizing Stark and he might not be able to get the voters of SF to reelect him. Not likely; but they did a fine job of reminding people why we do want separation of church and state. What a bunch of losers.

    I see this as one more sign of the self marginalization of the theocratic storm troopers who thought they were the future of the Republican party and eternal leaders of the USA.

    If Mr. Stark runs again I will be happy to contribute a couple of grickles to the cause, although I am sure he doesnt really need my help.

  78. #78 JeffG
    March 16, 2007

    Here is the “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” part regarding the Christian Seniors gang of idiots…what a scam! (Un-BELIEVE-able, if you get my drift)

    http://www.aarp.org/bulletin/consumer/a2003-08-19-crusaders.html

  79. #79 Alan Kellogg
    March 16, 2007

    #48

    Take? What alternate reality are these people from? I’ve dealt with 5 year olds, all you need is tons of patience, a strong voice, and stuff to keep them busy. Like a kid that age is any sort of threat. I’d be too busy keeping them out of danger to do anything else.

    Okay, I understand it was supposed to be a joke, but some of the comments I read took it much too seriously.

  80. #80 blf
    March 16, 2007

    “A simple declaration of a belief in God by members of Congress on the House floor will be greatly informative for the American people.”
    And what, exactly, do they expect people to learn from such a display?

    Confirmation that Congress is corrupt?

  81. #81 Flex
    March 16, 2007

    Hmm,

    Am I the only one here who keeps reading CSA as the Confederate States of America.

    Probably.

  82. #82 jpf
    March 16, 2007

    Am I the only one here who keeps reading CSA as the Confederate States of America.

    The Seniors will rise again!

  83. #83 Steve_C
    March 16, 2007

    JeffG,

    Doesn’t sound like we’ll have to worry about the CSA very long.
    They don’t represent anybody. It’s a Rev. Sheldon front group.
    His organizations are losing money, getting mugged by a coservative direct mailer.

  84. #84 David Marjanovi?
    March 16, 2007

    and that the separation of church and state shouldn’t have to apply to Christians.

    And it doesn’t work when you tell them to give unto the emperor what is the emperor’s?

  85. #85 David Marjanovi?
    March 16, 2007

    and that the separation of church and state shouldn’t have to apply to Christians.

    And it doesn’t work when you tell them to give unto the emperor what is the emperor’s?

  86. #86 Anonymous
    March 20, 2007

    Am I the only one here who keeps reading CSA as the Confederate States of America.

    The Seniors will rise again!

    We don’t talk that way around here, it angers the Civil War veterans!

  87. #87 John
    March 23, 2007

    Old Congressman Pete Stark…of 35 years plus in Congress is not only an atheist, but he is just an ‘old fart’ so to speak who wants to piss off the world. He rants and raves at his constituents and is not a nice guy…he’s not a “poster child” that any organization would want to represent them…atheists or otherwise. Check out where he denigrated a constituent who just returned from an overseas deployment to Kosovo…the soldier wrote his congressman (Pete Stark) and got this angry insulting voicemail back. (See the link to the Fox News video below).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djeGqNVXjZE

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!